DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton officials are moving forward with plans to install technology in the city that can hear gunshots and alert police.
Dayton city commissioners have approved spending $205,000 to implement the ShotSpotter detection system.
According to Lt. Col. Eric Henderson, assistant police chief, the goal is to decrease gun violence and respond to incidents more quickly.
The police department has considered this technology for several years, Lt. Col. Henderson said, and since costs have come down, the city is now ready to make that investment.
“We’re looking for new ways to address gun crime, so we felt this was the time to bring this forward,” Henderson said.
As much as 80 percent of gunshot-related incidents are not reported, Lt. Col. Henderson said.
ShotSpotter sensors are only listening for the sound of gunshots, Henderson said. Once that sound is detected, the device sends a recording of the sound to workers at ShotSpotter, he added.
“It takes the company about 30 to 60 seconds to verify it,” he said. “That information then gets relayed to officers.”
Other cities, including Columbus and Cincinnati, have installed ShotSpotter microphones, and officials have said the system is working.
In Dayton, ShotSpotter devices will be placed in a three-square-mile area around the North Main Street corridor, the section of the city with the most calls for shots fired, Lt. Col. Henderson said.
Several neighborhood leaders are excited about the new technology, Henderson said.
“I’m here to endorse the use of this technology,” said Bill Marvin of the Five Oaks Neighborhood Improvement Association. “I think it’s a good thing.”
But others raise concerns about whether the calls from ShotSpotter will pull officers away from other neighborhoods.
“We’re concerned that there will be fewer police on our streets and that microphones can’t replace a police presence,” said Kegan Sickels of the Dayton View Triangle Federation.
“We’re able to supplement, anytime there’s problems in the neighborhood, and also add some additional patrols to areas when there’s issues,” Henderson said.
The ShotSpotter microphones are expected to be installed within three to six months, Henderson said.
Although the technology will help detect the sound of gunfire, police still urge people to call for help if they hear gunshots, Henderson said.